Can Trump Dissolve His Foundation? Not Yet, According To New York Attorney General


On Saturday, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would be dissolving his Donald J. Trump Foundation in order "to avoid even the appearance of any conflict" with his administration. "Because I will be devoting so much time and energy to the presidency and solving the many problems facing our country and the world, I don’t want to allow good work to be associated with a possible conflict of interest," he said in a statement, according to The Los Angeles Times. But considering that the foundation is currently under investigation for possible "impropriety," can Trump dissolve his foundation legally?

Not if the attorney general of New York has anything to say about it. According to The Washington Times, Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Eric Schneiderman's office, said in a statement on Tuesday:

The Trump foundation is still under investigation by this office and cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete.

According to ABC News, Trump's transition team wants to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest before Trump takes office in January. However, Schneiderman's investigation has already been underway for several months, and it could be a while before it's fully complete.

On Monday, Trump seemed to respond to the statement from Schneiderman's office, tweeting:

I gave millions of dollars to DJT Foundation, raised or recieved (sic) millions more, ALL of which is given to charity, and media won't report! ... The DJT Foundation, unlike most foundations, never paid fees, rent, salaries or any expenses. 100% of money goes to wonderful charities!

Romper reached out to Trump's transition team for comment, but has yet to hear back.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman speaks during a press conference regarding a major drug bust, at the office of the New York Attorney General, September 23, 2016 in New York City. Scheiderman's office announced Friday that authorities in New York state have made a record drug bust, seizing 33 kilograms of heroin and 2 kilograms of fentanyl. According to the attorney general's office, it is the largest seizure in the 46 year history of New York's Organized Crime Task Force. Twenty-five peopole living in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona and New Jersey have been indicted in connection with the case. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)Drew Angerer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Donald J. Trump Foundation first came under investigation in September, when Schneiderman said his office was investigating the foundation's suspected "impropriety," according to the BBC.

"We have been looking into the Trump Foundation to make sure it's complying with the laws governing charities in New York," Schneiderman told CNN in September. "My interest in this issue really is in my capacity as regulator of nonprofits in New York state. And we have been concerned that the Trump Foundation may have engaged in some impropriety from that point of view."

At the time, a Trump spokesperson called the investigation a "left-wing hit job." However, the Internal Revenue Service recently fined the foundation $2,500 for a $25,000 political contribution it made in 2013 to the campaign of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose office at the time was reviewing allegations into the now-defunct Trump University.

US President-elect Donald Trump (L) stands with Trump National Security Adviser Lt. General Michael Flynn (R) at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is holding meetings on December 21, 2016.JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

Bondi's office didn't pursue a formal investigation into the business. Both Trump and Bondi denied any wrongdoing when it came to the donation and a Trump Foundation treasurer said the donation was supposed to go to a different organization with the same name as Bondi's campaign fundraiser, according to CNN.

Schneiderman's office has yet to close its investigation into Trump's foundation. For now, it appears that Trump can't actually shutter his controversial foundation yet — at least not legally.